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July 2005

What would Michael Kelly have said about the "Plamegate"? Twelve years ago Kelly wrote, "Washington has become a strange and debased place, the true heart of a national culture in which the distinction between reality and fantasy has been lost, a culture that has produced Oliver Stone as a historian, Joe McGinniss as a biographer, Geraldo Rivera as a journalist, Leonard Jeffries as a geneticist, and Barbara Streisand as an authority on national policy."

Fortunately, Mark Steyn is still with us, and he has a few choice words on the subject.

Just came across this spot-on observation about university course syllabi:

Over the years I’ve noticed that, in line with other manifestations of writing in English studies, course syllabi have gone from two page lists of reading assignments to forty page paragraphs of confessions, entreaties, threats, deals, praise, riddles, riffs. Some of these things look more like Math syllabi than English, given how popular the business of breaking grades down into smaller and smaller increments has become (“Students will receive 3.2% for attendance; 15.8% for contribution to discussion...”). Perhaps it’s because many universities now require professors to put copies of all of their syllabi (and assignments; and exams) in their Annual Review packet, but a decision seems to have been made that in lieu of a tenure manuscript a book-length syllabus will do.

And an NRO columnist makes some pointed remarks about current Higher Education:

This climate of enforced homogeneity produces a striking intellectual torpor that’s most unbecoming in a supposed place of higher learning. It also produces grotesque intellectual defects akin to the physical defects one often finds among the chronically inbred. After decades of hearing nothing but their own ideas echoing back at them — of seldom having their logic challenged — many of my tenured colleagues had come to believe some pretty strange things: Suffice it to say that almost everything in American affairs was linked to some conspiracy theory, most of which were linked to the Oval Office (but only during Republican administrations).

Rankings of economics blogs

Among the things economists are notorious for in academia is our intense--close to obsessive--interest in rankings. Rankings of journals, of particular papers, of individual economists, and of departments. (This assertion should be backed by some citations, but I don't want to make time to find them. Just trust me.) So I figured it was just a matter of time until someone produced a detailed ranking of economics blogs. Especially since I invited my many millions of readers to produce one over a year ago. 

But I haven't seen one. And a few minutes spent Googling suggests that there isn't one. So I guess it falls to me to begin this neglected but vitally important task.

What follows are preliminary rankings of economics blogs, computed in four different ways. Lest anybody take these rankings too seriously, after presenting them I"ll discuss eight big, big limitations on the methods and data used.

Ranking 1, using data from BlogPulse. BlogPulse is useful and fun. It claims to have identified 14.2 million--and counting--blogs.

Econ Rank Blog BlogPulse Rank
1 Marginal Revolution 88
2 Tim Worstall 119
3 Crooked Timber 146
4 Café Hayek 322
5 Angry Bear 450
6 The Becker-Posner Blog 525
7 Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal 552
8 EconLog 703
9 Asymmetrical Information 879
10 Dynamist Blog 957
11 Mahalanobis 1136
12 SCSU Scholars 1426
13 Mises Economics Blog 1430
14 Agoraphilia 1532
15 Adam Smith Institute 1603
16 Eclectic Econoclast 1780
17 Knowledge Problem 1926
18 A Constrained Vision 2085
19 Truck and Barter 2106
20 Newmark's Door 2296
21 Freakonomics 2309
22 General Glut's Globblog 2606
23 Cold Spring Shops 2852
24 voluntaryXchange 3087
25 Division of Labor 3098
26 William J. Polley 3212
27 Vox Baby 3525
28 Deinonychus antirrhopus 3635
29 The Sports Economist 5516
30 New Economist 5777
31 The Liberal Order 7038
32 Peter Gordon's Blog 9454

Continue reading "Rankings of economics blogs" »

Four fine posts from economics blogs

Four fine posts from economics blogs:

Tino at Truck and Barter declares that policy on Global Warming should use two types of science: climatology and economics.

Professor James Hamilton patiently and clearly explains that causal relationships in cross-sectional data can be different from causal relationships in time series data. With some interesting comments. (Link via EconLog.)

KipEsquire--"a lawyer who doesn't practice, an investment banker who does no deals, an academic who doesn't teach, and a policy wonk who belongs to no think tank"--discusses Amtrak and tartly concludes: "So we need (taxpayer-subsidized) Amtrak because people have no options, but we also want to tweak the service (and charge more for it), because people, um, have options. Go figure." (Link via The Eclectic Econoclast.)

Finally, Professor Hamilton again, responding to the proponents of the "peak oil" hypothesis:

But here's where I get stuck. What I see many of you then in effect concluding is something along the lines of the following:

If markets are not perfect, then we should put no faith in them.

This strikes me as a very inappropriate conclusion to draw from that kind of evidence.

I'll second that!